Lumberjacks to host NHL showcase in January
January 3, 2012
The inaugural USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will be at L.C. Walker Arena Jan. 24! 40 of the league's best players and NHL decision-makers will be under one roof
by Matt Gajtka
MUSKEGON, Mich.– The United States Hockey League announced the Muskegon Lumberjacks will host the first USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game presented by CCM.
The event will feature the USHL’s top NHL draft-eligible players in the league’s inaugural, premiere showcase event, set for Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 7:15 p.m. on the Lumberjacks’ home ice at the newly renovated L.C. Walker Arena.
“Our organization is thrilled to be hosting this event,” said Josh Mervis, Owner and CEO of the Jacks. “Muskegon is the perfect site for the inaugural Top Prospects Game, because there’s not a more sophisticated hockey fan base in the USHL than here.”
Forty of the USHL’s top young players, the majority eligible to be selected in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, will compete as two teams selected by the USHL in cooperation with NHL Central Scouting and the General Managers and scouts of the 30 NHL teams. The game will take place only days after NHL Central Scouting releases its midterm rankings of NHL draft-eligible players in mid-January.
“It is a great opportunity to help support the USHL’s mission of developing some of the best hockey players in the world,” Mervis said. “We’re proud to welcome key decision-makers from throughout the NHL to the home of the Lumberjacks.”
The process for selecting players for the event has begun, overseen by the Commissioner’s Office and conducted in cooperation with the 16 USHL General Managers, NHL Central Scouting, and NHL scouts and decision makers. Top prospects tentatively scheduled to compete include Dubuque Fighting Saints forward Zemgus Girgensons, Green Bay Gamblers defenseman Jordan Schmaltz, defenseman Brian Cooper of the Fargo Force and goaltender Jon Gillies of the Indiana Ice. A full roster of players will be announced at a later date.
“The USHL continues to attract more and more NHL-caliber players, who are in pursuit of a professional career through the fairest and finest development system in the world – the education-based American development model,” said USHL Commissioner Skip Prince. “We’re working with the NHL Member Clubs as partners, and the feedback from their general managers, head scouts, and NHL Central Scouting confirmed the need for a competitive event of this nature to showcase our best and supplement their already extensive regular season scouting efforts in the League.”
Tickets for the event will go on sale to the public beginning this week and can be purchased by contacting the Muskegon Lumberjacks at (231) 724-JACK or by visiting www.StarTickets.com. The Shoreline Inn will serve as official host hotel of the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game presented by CCM. Additional details will be released as they are solidified.
Last June, a total of 28 USHL players were selected in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft – the most USHL players selected by the NHL teams in one year. In addition, nine USHL alumni were chosen in that 2011 Draft.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 10th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2011-12. With 28 picks during the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, 18 NHL draftees on its rosters last season, and over 280 players committed to NCAA Division I schools during the 2010-11 season, the USHL is emerging as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
The Muskegon Lumberjacks are proud members of the United States Hockey League, the nation’s only Tier I junior hockey league and the leading producer of NCAA players and National Hockey League draft picks in the United States. The Lumberjacks’ organization prides itself on developing not just premier hockey talent, but also exceptional young men outside the arena of sports. For more information, visit muskegonlumberjacks.com.